MALIBU (CBSLA) – A torrential downpour across the Southland for a third straight day created numerous headaches in the Malibu area Wednesday, including a pair of rock slides on Malibu Canyon Road.
Several neighborhoods in the Woolsey Fire burn area in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have been under mandatory evacuation since Monday, including about 225 homes in Malibu, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The evacuated homes are either close to steep slopes or near the base of drainage areas.
“You have to prepare as best you can,” Malibu resident Landi Hoyt told CBS2 Wednesday. “The mudslides that happened last year up in Montecito have really highlighted to people, you could be next, it could be our house, it could be our area.”
Crews were working around the clock on storm and flood control operations throughout the area, such as putting up K-rails and cleaning out clogged storm drains.
Hundreds of homeowners in the Creek Fire burn area north of Sylmar – including Kagel, Little Tujunga and Lopez canyons – were warned to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger told residents who might be worried about looting and hesitant to leave that L.A. County Sheriff’s patrols were already in place in both the Woolsey and Creek fire burn areas. Deputies have stationed themselves outside the evacuated neighborhoods to ensure looters don’t break into homes.
“We will do everything we can to protect your property,” Barger said Tuesday, also urging canyon residents with animals to move them out now to avoid the risk of having to abandon them later. “The lesson learned (at Kagel Canyon) is there is only one way in and out.”
All four Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District schools in Malibu will remain closed Thursday including the district’s preschool in Malibu and the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, school officials announced.
On Wednesday night, meanwhile, the city of Burbank downgraded a mandatory evacuation to a voluntary one for residents on Country Club Drive above Via Montana in the La Tuna Fire burn area.
The storm is being pushed by an atmospheric river, which National Weather Service Meteorologist Kathy Hoxsie described as a moisture-packing air mass. This storm, she said, has “more moisture than others.”
The 97,000-acre Woolsey Fire broke out Nov. 8 south of Simi Valley. It then jumped the south side of the 101 Freeway near Calabasas and spread into Malibu. The fire destroyed more than 1,500 structures and was responsible for three deaths. It was not fully contained until Nov. 21.